Council leader’s windfarm attack criticised

Wind turbines
Wind turbines

Aberdeenshire council leader Jim Gifford has launched an attack windfarms, sending a warning to planners - and provoking criticism from the SNP.

Mr Gifford’s description of the council “dying” under the weight of applications has been fiercely challenged by Formartine Area Committee chairman and Ellon SNP Councillor Rob Merson.

He said: “I was somewhat taken aback by Councillor Gifford’s comments.

“While I can appreciate that he might have wished to indulge in a bit of grandstanding in front of his colleagues at the Conservative conference, it is regrettable that he did not do so in terms more befitting his position as council leader.”

Mr Merson went on to criticise Councillor Peter Argyle, chair of the infrastructure services committee, saying: “When he courted pre-election headlines by calling for a moratorium on wind turbines, he should have known it would be legally impossible to impose.

“Maintaining objectivity is critical to the transparency and integrity in the system, making these ill-considered remarks must call the impartiality of Mr Gifford and Mr Argyle into question.”

Councillor Merson continued: “What is required is sound planning policy, instead we are getting posturing to appease the vocal anti-turbine lobby, but failing to take action to address those concerns which are valid.”

He welcomed the call for the reorganisation of Aberdeenshire’s planning service saying: “This is long overdue, but it is incredible that what has been described as rebirth of the service should be announced as an obituary at the Tory conference - and by the council leader of all people.”

Ellon Tory councillor Gillian Owen said: “I am in general, a supporter of green energy, but I must admit to having concerns about how far we go - the cumulative effect of wind generators is something we have to consider, especially as some applications turn communities against each other.

“For the second time in my time as a councillor in Ellon I would make the case for a moratorium so we can analyse where we are going on this issue.

“I would also welcome any input from the public, it should be of some concern to them.”